Metal Clay Open Studio, March 19

I am so excited to get back doing what I love and that is to teach. I miss my students from the Kansas City Art Institute. A wonderful community had grown up around the metal clay classes at KCAI and while technically they were my students, we really had become friends.

So I am thrilled to announce that this is the first month of my Open Studio, which will be held the third Thursday of every month. The first Open Studio will be this month on March 19 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Open Studio will be a laid back time for artists to work on their own projects, network with other artists and I will be around to help them problem solve on metal clay issues.   I will have studio tools and equipment available for artists to use, a resource table with books and information on vendors. This will be great for those artists who don’t otherwise have access to these tools.

I met and have been working with an amazing person this past year, Jennifer Gastelum of Jewelry Artist Supply. Early in the year she asked me to design a texture plate for her company, which I did. So she weathered all my family craziness this past year, showing an enormous amount of patience, and she’s funny too! Really, she’s the complete package! LOL

Texture plate designed by Susan Breen Silvy

Texture plate designed by Susan Breen Silvy

Jennifer can’t be at the Open Studio in person but what she has done is HUGE! She has gathered up all the sample textures that were created during the research and development of my exclusive design and shipped them to me so I can give then to the artists at my first Open Studio! Isn’t that cool? I also think there is another box coming with all sorts of little odds and ends to give away. She is a doll and I am so grateful our paths have crossed.

The Open Studio is March 19 from 6 to 9p.m. at in the activity room at Riverstone Retirement Community. Riverstone is located in the Kansas City Northland on the northwest corner of the Zona Rosa shopping district. It is $25 per person. Seating is limited so you must reserve your spot in advance. To reserve a spot, please email me at and I will send you specific directions. I look forward to seeing old friends and meeting some new ones!

So don’t forget! March 19th!

I’m Baaaaccckkk!

Wow! It’s been over a year and I do owe you an explanation for my absence. Thank you so much for being patient with me as I attempt to get caught back up.

What happened? Well, I needed a little abdominal surgery. No big deal, it was just an overnight stay in the hospital. Unfortunately the no big deal surgery turned into a major abdominal infection where I vaguely remember a swarm of doctors saying “septic” and I remember saying “f__k!”. So it started a journey that included a month in the hospital, some of it in ICU, an emergency surgery, icky IV nutrition bags (given through the IV but for some reason, I could still taste it, ick!), three months of IV antibiotics, horrible anemia (a hemoglobin of 6.9 at its lowest) and a social calendar that only included visits to various doctors. I started to feel sort of like myself just in time to launch myself into the holidays.

While being that sick was not a lot of fun to live through, a part of the journey gave me the most cherished memories that I have of my adult life. The love of my husband and kids, the kindness of my family, friends and even acquaintances touched me in a a way that I will never forget and I will always be grateful that I was given that experience. It was the most amazing gift and changed my outlook on life.

I just want everyone to know that I am alive, well, and back to being my old ornery self. Okay, I’m a bit behind in EVERYTHING, but that is better than the alternative!

Take care!

On the road to recovery…

Hi everyone, this is Rachel, Susan’s daughter. My mom is unfortunately still in the hospital, however we are hoping she will be out in the next couple of days. As it will take awhile for her to get back in the swing of things, her studio will be temporarily closed until further notice. Right now our main focus is getting her feeling better before she can continue on with her work. She wants to thank everyone for their kind thoughts and their patience and she hopes to give another update when she starts feeling better.


– Rachel Silvy

Tangle-on disk will take Zentangle students to the next level!


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Tomorrows Zentangle class at The Office Studio is going to be fabulous!  We are going to be exploring the art of the string by designing on 6″ wooden disks called Tangle-on disks.  What a great way to introduce Zentangle Inspired Art by having students create  art on their own portable drawing surfaces!

I have found the Tangle-on disks to be invaluable to me. The disk is lightweight and fits in my purse or carry-on so I always have a flat surface to tangle a tile on.  It came in quite handy last weekend when I was stuck at the Chicago airport for 6 hours!  But honestly, it usually it just sits on the table by my chair where I use it every night. I like working on it rather than a table because it allows me to work closer to my face so I don’t stain my neck.  It’s just a neat tool that works so well or me.

Tomorrows class is going to be about using the string to create Zentangle Inspired Art (ZIA).  The disks will be the perfect canvas for the students introduction in ZIA’s!   Can’t wait to post pictures!!

Hectic Holiday Hubbub

Christmas has come, the visiting family has gone and things are beginning to get back to normal – as normal as things ever get with my dysfunctionally-charming familial group.

Stars made by Annemarie Huijtz, The Netherlands

It’s almost time to start packing away the Christmas decorations which includes my Zentangle Christmas Stars.  Who knew something as simple as a paper star would hit such a chord with so many people from all over the world!  I heard from Zentangle artists in South Africa, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Columbia and those are just the countries I can think of off the top of my head.  Your warm response and how you were making the stars a part of your holiday celebration made this Christmas a special one for me.

I had 6,600 hits on my blog in one day from people looking for the star tutorial!

So at this time I would like to share the picture of the amazing stars made by Annemarie Huijtz from the Netherlands.  She wrote me a darling email where she pointed out one of the most alluring features of Zentangle, that individually we can work on the same project but have such amazingly different results!  So true!

Zentangle Inspired Brooch Unveiled!

The fine silver (PMC3) metal clay brooch that I made using a Zentangle® tile as inspiration is not only finished, it has moved on to a new home.  I took a quick (and rather bad) picture of it before it moved on.

I would say that using Zentangle as a way to break that creative block was a success!

As an experiment, I have started another project using the same Zentangle tile as inspiration, but this time it will be made out of the new Sterling Silver PMC.  Sterling Silver PMC was just recently released by the Mitsubishi Corporation and this is a great way for me to explore the difference in the working properties between PMC3 and Sterling PMC.

I have really taken to the feel of the sterling clay.  It seems to have a longer working window in the moist clay form.  But what I am really interested in is working with it using dry construction techniques.  I like working dry, that’s just my thing and I am loving how sterling clay assembles in the dry state.   Can’t wait to fire it to see how strong the bond is with small surface area embellishments!

Crazy Christmas Catch Up

Zentangled Christmas StarsWhoo!  I love Christmas but I am at that point where every morning I wake up feeling that I’m getting farther and farther behind!  In my house you are never completely prepared, Christmas just finally happens.  The nice thing is that no one seems to be aware of the things that didn’t get done.  Everyone is just excited to be together.

So before I get totally submerged in the Christmas countdown I want to update you on my progress.  I finally colored the Zentangle stars.  I love using watercolor pencils and they worked perfectly on the stars.  On some of the stars I put as many as four layers of color on to attain the blending and intensity that I wanted.  It can be slow going, allowing the piece to dry, assessing the color and determining what needs to be added, but it also is very satisfying.

I have made some headway with the Zentangle brooches in metal clay that I wrote about a few days ago.  I have posted a picture of the tile that I drew for inspiration and the metal clay design I am in the process of working on.    The raw piece still needs to have peridot stones set in one of the stripes and some texturing done.   But it’s coming along nicely and I should be able to get it done in the next couple of days.  It has been a fascinating experiment in jump-starting creativity for me.   Hopefully I will be able to post a picture of the finished piece before Christmas.  So stay tuned…..

Getting the Metal Clay Creativity Flowing Again.

I actually got into my studio a couple of days ago. After cleaning out all the things that were stashed in my studio “temporarily” in preparation for our family Thanksgiving, I finally found my bench. And there I sat, with no clue as to what I should be creating. So I cleaned some more until I had a freakin’ clean studio — but still no ideas.

The past month has been spent at my computer, out of necessity, and my creative outlet has totally been Zetangle drawing. I haven’t given much thought to creating with metal clay so changing the gears in my head wasn’t going quite as smoothly as I anticipated.
In the past when I have created Zentangle inspired work, I have identified something in one of my Zentangle drawings that would transfer nicely to metal clay. When designing non-Zentangle inspired jewelry I always start by drawing a design before attempting to make it with metal clay, so this time I’d just start tangling to create the design.
Approaching jewelry design using Zentangle principles worked beautifully. The hum of creativity came quickly, as soon as those four dots were made on the paper tile. I found that as I was tangling, I was building a three-dimensional object in my mind. It was really a cool experience. I was totally absorbed in the drawing and working out how I would create the textures or design in metal clay, how I would finish it. Whew! The gears are moving again!
I haven’t had time yet to get my hands into the clay. But as you can see from the pictures, I think I now have a good place to start. I’ll keep you posted on the outcome!

Zentangle Christmas Decoration: Zen-out while creating holiday memories!!!

Zentangle Christmas Stars

It happens overnight. Out with the pumpkin orange and harvest gold and in with all shades of red and green. It’s a bit of work but oh so much fun! Even having to pull the #@%&# cat out of the Christmas tree several times daily adds to the festivity. I would leave the cat alone but the dogs won’t quit barking while Bubba remains perched in there.

As a kid our Christmas decorations in our home were centered on an elaborately decorated sixteen foot mantle. Twelve red flocked (yes, flocked) reindeer pranced across the mantle leading an elaborate sled across mounds of white and silver tinsel snow lit with little white lights. Blinking above this scene were dimensional stars that my mother had made out of cardstock, spray painted silver and sprinkled with silver glitter. To a kid it was spectacular!

I always seem to incorporate my artwork into my Christmas decorations. This year the stars my mother made 50 years ago came to mind. A Zentangle project with a Christmas theme seemed just the perfect calming project as I shooed the dogs out the door and disengaged Bubba from the tree again.

The stars are simple to make and with a little scoring at the right spots turn into darling three-dimensional ornaments. What a wonderful canvas to lay down a little seasonal Zentangle art!

I made my original template from folding paper and making one cut (the Betsy Ross method for those of you who paid attention in grade school). But if any of you want to make stars of your own, I have made a star template with instructions for you. You can reduce or enlarge the template to make the size star that works for you. I made my stars with cold press water color-paper and plan to add a little color to some of them. The water-color paper works beautifully for this project. It is heavy and holds the scored creases, has a bit of a tooth to it so it is wonderful to draw on with a Pigma pen.

After 50 years my mother’s stars are still in pristine condition, minus a little glitter. It’s remarkable of the longevity of this simple little paper craft and the memories it evokes. So don’t forget to sign and date your stars, as Maria says, respect your work. And think of the fun it will be when your kids unpack that box 50 years from now.

So here at the holidays, when you need to escape from the chaos, grab your pen and make some memories. Ohmmmmm…

Thanksgiving Chaos Reigns — Send Xanax

Thanksgiving has started.  My sister, her two boys ages 10 and 12 and their dog have arrived.  Her husband is the smart one of the group, he decided to go climb a mountain for Thanksgiving. Both my university daughters are home, with puppy, fish and hamster.  So right now I have 3 dogs, a spring-loaded puppy, a terrified cat, hamster and fish in addition to extra kids and humans.  I have assigned the kids the job of keeping the animals from trying to eat each other.   I think my husband wishes Kansas City had mountains.